British Prime Minister Theresa May has carried out “scenario planning” for a second Brexit referendum in case she is forced by parliament to hold one, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Monday.
May is hoping to find a way to get parliament to approve a Brexit plan without another public vote, but talks with the opposition Labour Party on a compromise exit strategy have yet to reach an agreement.
The Telegraph reported that May had discussions with officials and ministers about holding a referendum that would give voters the choice between leaving the European Union with a deal, leaving without a deal, or not leaving at all.
The report cited unnamed government sources, who said the referendum plan would only become relevant if talks with Labour failed and a majority in parliament supported holding another public vote.
The Telegraph said a source in May’s office denied there had been a meeting to discuss a second EU referendum.
Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the EU, which was split 52 percent for Brexit and 48 percent against it, has continued to divide the country and paralyse the political system. May’s minority government missed a March 29 exit date and there is huge uncertainty over how, when, and even if Britain will leave.
May has publicly opposed holding a second referendum. She has said that if talks with Labour fail, parliament will be asked to vote on series of options on how to break the impasse, but those options have not been decided yet.
Talks with Labour, which has pledged conditional support for a second referendum, are due to resume on Tuesday and May’s ministers have spent recent days talking up the prospect of a swift deal.
However leaked details on a possible compromise have angered Labour’s negotiators, and lawmakers from both sides have expressed their opposition to a cross-party deal.